Thursday, May 3, 2012

Weekend To Remember

I took a gigantic risk and signed us up for a marriage retreat as a birthday gift for Mike.

Thankfully, it didn't fall flat, like the Valentine's gift of a gym membership I received back in the day.  One I asked for because I clearly needed to lose weight.  But one I clearly didn't receive well, as my fit of tears in the moment could attest.

Yup.  I am no stranger to being on the wrong end of a gift that just missed the mark.

In case you are wondering:  that wasn't Mike's "OOPS".

I am also guessing you sense the concern inherent in my writing.  This could have imploded in my face were it not for the fact that my sweet, darling husband took the gift exactly the way I wanted him to, as a supreme compliment that I think we have a great marriage.  That I wanted to make what was great even greater.  That, after almost 15 years of marriage, I think we can still improve that which is amazing.

It was an entire 48 hours to share as a couple, sans kids, for the first time in quite a while.  And a chance to have adult conversation and meals and dates that didn't involve interruption or coordinating or stress. 

In a word:  bliss. I can't highly enough recommend a Weekend to Remember.

It is a chance to be with like-minded folks who want to be reminded what the Bible says about marriage, not what popular culture thinks.

It is an opportunity to really talk with your spouse about stuff that matters, instead of the "drive-by" talking we do most days about the schedule and picking-up kids and when dinner will be ready.

It is a time to reflect on what is good in your marriage, what can be improved upon, and where you want to go together.

It is a space in time when you feel close to your spouse again, like you did when you were dating and newly married.

It is time to recharge your spiritual and sexual batteries and rediscover what made you a great couple to begin with.

It is a place where you will hear what marriage is designed to be, why individual roles in a union matter, and how God intends marriage to look.

Now that I have your excitement level up, let me get down to brass tacks.  Doing something like this can get pricey pretty fast.  And I am not immune to watching pennies and being frugal.  Pretty quickly I realized it was going to take some creativity to make this work within a budget.  So here's what I did:

*I took advantage of a "2 for 1" deal, where the event fee of $318 reduced to $159.  On occasion, Family Life will run these specials;  look out for them.

*I also got creative with hotel accommodations, getting a free room off a new Hilton Honors credit card and using Mike's travel points with Marriott to cover the other night.  Sure, we didn't stay on campus with the conference, but we were within walking distance one day and five minutes the other and it saved us over $250!  Breakfast both Saturday/Sunday morning was courtesy of the hotels, so that saved another chunk of change.

*I put aside a bit of money from our regular budget to cover the cost of food and incidentals.  Even $15 a month for six months will get you a good chunk toward expenses...if you are having trouble envisioning even finding $15 in your budget, serve pasta with red sauce and forgo a pound of burger to save $5.  Do that three times in one month and you have your cash!

*I took advantage of a Groupon for our date night, so we could go to a movie and have a drink for $10 at Studio Movie Grill (most current offers are now at $6/ticket including drink...still a bargain!)

If you are a reader in Dallas, the next chance for a Weekend to Remember is in Las Colinas on the weekend of October 19th.  If you aren't near Dallas, check the website for other locations across the U.S.

(Hint, hint) There are two rather large celebrations coming up for Moms/Dads in the next several weeks.  Maybe you could each forgo that meal/gift that won't be remembered this time next year and save to improve, reinforce, or even save your marriage?!  Just thinking out loud here....

One last thought:  in our audience last weekend was a couple who had been married 13 days and one who had been married 49 years. 

There is never a better time to invest in your marriage than NOW.

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